20 July 2005

Google and Self-Worth

Not all coins in the land are made at the mint.

There is going on, at any time in this country, and more broadly, in the world, what I call "The Great Discussion." The Great Discussion is where ideas about politics, policy, public affairs, science and art are discussed in a way that develops conventional wisdom and guides how people think and what they do. The glorious part of the internet is that it provides a means for people who can't spend time physically at the Salons and academies of old to take part in this discussion.

The dark side of this access is that it is easy for your voice to go unheard. Few things are more frustrating than crying out in the wilderness and not being heard by anyone. Sometimes what you have to say doesn't matter; no one cares.

But, as a result of this constant need to be heard, the validation that comes from knowing that you are heard, that you are in fact a leading voice in some part of the Great Discussion is a gratifying one.

Google searches of the internet can provide that kind of validation. When your page is at the top of the heap of a search related to your topic with hundred or thousands of matches, you have the pride of knowing that your voice is being heard in the Great Discussion and that can fuel intense feelings of self-worth. It hasn't happened to me very often, but it has happened often enough that I crave it. And, in this, I am sure that I am not alone.

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